Compression Socks Update
Two research studies have been published on the topic of compression socks since I last wrote on this in October, 2007. You can see that original post here. There may be some I've missed so if you happen to come across one please let me know. I always find it fascinating when technology improves performance. A great example of this is swimsuits in the Beijing Olympics last year. Of course, we've also seen great breakthroughs in cycling-related sports, too, with aerobars, improved wheels and power meters. But let's get back to compression socks. Here are the most recent studies I've found...
Ali, A., M.P. Caine, B.G. Snow. 2007. Graduated Compression Stockings: Physiological and Perceptual Responses During and After Exercise. J Sports Sci 25(4): 413-419.
Summary: Fourteen recreational runners ran a 10k at a "fast pace" both with and without compression socks. No performance or physiological differences were observed for the compression-sock trials compared with the standard athletic-sock trials. There was, however, a reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) 24 hours after exercise with compression socks. Two runners in the compression socks experienced DOMS. Thirteen in the standard athletic socks experienced DOMS.
Kemmler, W., S. von Stengel, C. Kockritz, J. Mayhew, A. Wassermann, J. Zapf. 2009. Effect of Compression Stockings on Running Performance in Men Runners. J Strength Cond Res 23(1): 101-105.
Summary: Twenty-one moderately trained men ran a graded exercise test on a treadmill to a voluntary maximum output on two occasions separated by a week. One test was done with compression socks and the other with standard athletic socks. Running performance at anaerobic threshold improved 1.5% and at aerobic threshold 2.1%.
So what does all of this mean? I really can't say. It's too early to tell. Check back as I'll continue to watch the literature and report it here.